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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

were celebrating someone's birthday at Madame
Balet's and came home rather late. I carried the
lantern, with which we crossed the island at night,
because it was completely dark if there was no
moon and impossible to find the path. I carried a
ship's lantern; we used it as light in the sitting-room
as there was no gas or electric light. We crossed
the fields, and on the other side was a narrow path,
on one side was the hedge of a garden belonging
to a house. Suddenly, in the middle of the path,
we saw two creatures. They were about eight
inches long, like lizards, with high front legs like
chameleons. They had broad black-and-yellow
stripes all over them, long tails, huge eyes that
they rolled at us and long tongues which shot
in and out. This really was a startling spectacle
in the middle of the night, and we all turned rather
pale and walked on in silence. I went to the cafe
the next morning by myself, as I had to go to the
Post Office, and I asked Madame Balet what the
curious creatures were that we had seen the night
before. She said that they were Salamanders and
that it was very rare to see them as the Bretons
kill them. They are in the arms of Francis I, who
was the first king to put down the Bretons.
We bathed from the rocks in front of the house,
but we had to wait till the tide came up and it was
about twenty feet deep, so I could only cling on to a
rock as I could not swim. We bathed also from a
little beach at the back of the island. This had
sand and I could go in up to my neck. Tuohy swam
very well and would swim far away to a rock. One
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